Another one of those sneaky NeoGaf forum members has revealed some interesting information that Steam may start allowing its users to share games with their friends.
In the latest Beta update for Steam this telling text was found, describing a sharing system:
“SteamUI_JoinDialog_SharedLicense_Title” “Shared game library”
“SteamUI_JoinDialog_SharedLicenseLocked_OwnerText” “Just so you know, your games are currently in use by %borrower%. Playing now will send %borrower% a notice that it’s time to quit.”
“SteamUI_JoinDialog_SharedLicenseLocked_BorrowerText” “This shared game is currently unavailable. Please try again later or buy this game for your own library.””
Interesting. The second line of code suggests that you and your friend won’t be able to play the shared game at the same time, which is a shame but understandable.
There are of course many questions raised by this discovery. For instance will this feature, if it’s true, be automatically implemented across the board or will each developer have to be contacted by Valve and agree to allow their game to be shared in such a fashion? Are there going to be any limitations, restrictions or fees for lending/sharing games?
Regardless it’s impossible not to feel that this would be a great move on Valve’s behalf, and could potentially be great for developers and publishers. Sure, you might think it would be bad, but imagine lending a game to a friend and him/her enjoying it so much that they immediately go and buy it?
Of course the downside for a publisher is that once you’ve completed a game you could just lend it permanently to a friend, which is possibly where some sort of restriction or limitation will come in to play to ensure that such things never happen. Or gamers could unite and create a multitude of vast sharing circles, where one game could feed the masses! (metaphorically. Don’t try and eat games. Not cool.)